Gardening? Creating A Dog-Safe Green Space

Howdy Friends!

Spring is in the air, the birds are singing, the flowers are a-blooming, and you’ve got your pup by your side – all around it’s a fantastic time to find an outside hobby and what better hobby to invest time into than gardening?

We love to dig in fresh soil, start new plant life, renew old growth into compost, and create a safe-haven for pollinators!

Did you know, though, that not all plants are super safe to plant where a pup could access them? Yup.

So whether your gardening fascination is just blooming, or you’ve been busy pruning and re-potting your beloved plants with that experienced hand, pull up a toadstool and double check that you’re not planting anything dangerous where a pup might be tempted to take a munch out of some lovely leafy greens.

So let’s break this down. There are some plants that are more dangerous than others, in that they usually cause mild symptoms if ingested, and there are the plants which are more toxic. It’s important to have a good grasp on all of these, and to keep a list of them pinned in your garden shed to remind you.

Most dogs learn the good sense to avoid putting their mouths on things that aren’t food or toys, but always monitor your pup when they are in your garden. If you need help identifying plants, the app Seek identifies mystery plants with the tap of a button.

Seek, by iNaturalist is super helpful!

For a full data-base of toxicology information, check this out!

For starters, here’s a list of plants to avoid planting.

Garden Care

In addition to carefully choosing safe plants, and locating any other tempting plants where your pup cannot get to them, make sure you use natural and pet-safe garden care products.

Even Natural Garden Care Can Be Dangerous If Ingested

Be aware that even some natural garden care items can be dangerous if ingested by pets. Fertilizers like, Bone and Blood Meals, and Potash, are great natural fertilizers, but are very high in different elements like Nitrogen, Iron, or Phosphorous, and if ingested, can cause a myriad of issues like stomach upset, bowl obstructions, and even pancreatitis, among other things. If you plan on using these, keep them stored where your pup cannot go, and keep your pup well away for some time, from the areas you plan to treat.

Even certain mulches can be dangerously enticing to a pup, so avoid mulches made from cocoa bean shells.

Avoid Chemical Killers (Organophosphates)

Herbicides: These chemicals kill weeds, but pose incredible threats to pets, and wildlife. In addition to being nasty for animals (including you) these yucky products also pose massive dangers to the environment. Avoid these at all costs.

  • Glyphosate
  • Roundup
  • Dicamba
  • Paraquat

Pesticides: These chemicals kill common garden ‘pests’ and can often be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal to pets.

In Case of Emergency

Keep an eye out for strange behaviour and/symptoms like confusion, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, excessive panting, pain, and/or general discomfort. If you suspect your pup has ingested any of the above mentioned plants and or chemicals, get professional advice immediately.

There are 24-hour resources for immediate advice:

If you must go in to see the vet, take a picture, or bring a sample of the toxin, into the vet’s office with you. This will help your vet figure out the best course of treatment.

Good Gardening Practices

All in all, while there can be some dangers to pets (and to humans!) in a garden, it’s best to educate ourselves about the potential dangers and how to avoid them, and to follow good gardening practices.

Make Sure That You:

  • Keep any fertilizers and chemicals stored in an animal-proof area
  • Keep your compost sealed and animal-proof (this helps keeps pests away, too!)
  • Provide secure containment like proper fencing
  • Maintain all fencing and structures
  • Don’t compost pet-waste.

Most importantly, enjoy your time out in nature with your pup.

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